So you want to dress more fashionably: good for you! But the problem is, you don’t think you know anything about fashion — the idea of keeping up with constantly changing trends drives you up the wall. Sometimes, it feels like you’ll never dress as well as you want to.

Does that sound like you? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to break down everything you need to know about staying on trend. Keeping your finger on the fashion pulse isn’t as tough as you think, especially if you’re familiar with a few basic fashion concepts. Here’s how to stay on trend as a total fashion newbie.

The Fashion Newbie’s Guide to Staying on Trend - Trend, shop, prices, guide, fashion, Dress, Ball Gown wedding dresses

Master the basics of fashion

In fashion, fads come and go, but certain concepts stay relevant for decades. If you understand what makes clothing look good, you’ll get better at identifying quality stuff. And knowing what good clothes look like will help you zero in on both classics and trendy new products.

So take some time to learn about fit, the key to all great fashion. Actors don’t look bad in old movies (or in historical movies) no matter how dated their clothes are, and that’s because their clothes still have a great fit. Looking specifically for clothes which best flatter your body type can make you more stylish overnight. So can getting a tailor.

With fit out of the way, learn some basics of color, color theory, and matching. Practice identifying quality clothes from the materials and stitching. And breeze through old fashion magazines or websites with fashion timeliness to learn about the trends of days past, because they might come up in the future! Fashion is cyclical, after all.

Know where to shop

If you learn about basics like fit, quality, and color, something curious will happen: the big, confusing world of fashion narrows considerably. That’s because a lot of clothes out there are, well, just clothes: they’re not “fashion” and they’re not for folks who want to put a bit more care into their appearance. Now that you can see the difference, bid adieu to the big-box stores and too-cheap places, and start shopping smart.

Online boutiques like Saved by the Dress are a great place to start: they pair high-fashion options with lower online prices. Of course, you can still do some window shopping and note the trends and pricey brick-and-mortar boutiques. Just use what you learn to buy the more affordable (but similarly fashionable) stuff you’ll find at online boutiques, and in the one or two mid-priced fashion outlets that make the best clothes for your body type. Throw in the occasional splurge item, and you’ve got your wardrobe.

The Fashion Newbie’s Guide to Staying on Trend - Trend, shop, prices, guide, fashion, Dress, Ball Gown wedding dresses

Put down roots in the basics

Fashion changes, and that can make staying on trend pricey. Our strategy so far is pretty simple — you’ve learned to identify good clothes and good stores, and you’re using that information to shop for the right stuff in the right places — but it’s not quite cheap yet, not even with the inclusion of online boutiques. No matter how affordable the clothes are, buying a new wardrobe every season is pricey.

So don’t buy a new wardrobe every season. Instead, invest in some really high-quality, long-lasting pieces that are timeless classics. We’re talking about the clothing that never goes out of style: the wrap dress, the simple sweater, vintage shades, straightforward flats, and, of course, the iconic little black dress. With these as the bedrock of your wardrobe, you can build out seasonal styles without feeling like you’re doing so on shifting sands.

Stay up-to-date with a bit of light reading

When you first consider fashion, it’s easy to feel like you’d have to constantly study to keep up with all this. But, of course, that’s not true! With our tips, you can always step out with a classic piece and feel great. You can add a trendy touch or two easily, because you trust the places you shop, know how to recognize quality, know how to pair pieces and colors, and know what you like (you don’t have to learn that last bit from us).

Armed with this knowledge and these techniques, you’ll spot trends easily, with no training required. To supplement that, follow a fashion social media account or two, pick up a fashion magazine at the grocery store checkout once in a while, or just head to a fashion blog. That’s all you need to do to get answers to questions you might have about the finer points of the trends you’ll be noticing on your own. It’s easy, and with your new flair and talent for fashion, you might just find it fun too.